In the early twentieth century, Harlem was primed to become the hub of New York’s African American community. Abandoned by the white middle class in the late 1800s, the revitalized neighborhood was a safe haven for those escaping the south during the Great Migration, a destination for black immigrants, and a magnet for African American intellectuals.

Writers like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston began their careers in Harlem’s vibrant literary community. Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith, and Louis Armstrong performed in Harlem’s jazz clubs where patrons first created swing dance. And most importantly, the area allowed black culture and entrepreneurship to thrive in a society dogged by virulent racism.

Today, we look at 41 images that capture the Harlem Renaissance in full force:

Lenox Ave
369th Infantry
Web Dubois
Silent Parade
The Harlem Renaissance: 41 Images Of When New York Was The Capital Of Black America
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Next, check out our galleries on Harlem in the 1970s and the greatest Maya Angelou quotes.

Elisabeth Sherman
Elisabeth Sherman is a writer living in Jersey City, New Jersey.
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